Last year at this time, there were expectations that the Maryland Terrapins would be able to get over the hump and make a statement against the defending National Champions, the Kentucky Wildcats, a team ranked no. 3 in the country.
To sum that contest up, the Terrapins missed a lot of free throws, made costly turnovers and missed plenty of open jump shots. That game against the Wildcats pretty much told the whole story of the Terrapins 2013 season. I believe the same will happen when the Terrapins open the season against the Connecticut Huskies.
I know the Terrapins played against Catholic University and won 84-39 in an exhibition game this past Sunday, but that won’t tell anything as they go up against a Huskies team which is entering the season being ranked 19th in the country by USA TODAY.
With the Terrapins’ big men, I want to see how Charles Mitchell has improved his game from his freshman year. Last year, Mitchell showed flashes of talent in scoring and rebounding, but was a bit out of control at times by not having the best hands and not being disciplined on defense.
The other Terrapins’ big man in Shaquille Cleare. He was strong on the inside in post defense and rebounding. I want to see if he has improved his baby hook shot from a year ago because it really all starts in the paint for this team, and he is the x-factor on how far the team will go this year.
With shooting guard Seth Allen being out for at least two months, I expect the Terrapins to slow the game down a bit and rely on their front court. That might be a good thing when you have a guy like Evan Smotrycz who can stretch the perimeter at the power forward spot, giving room for Cleare and Mitchell to dominate the paint.